MCA finds acquiring of PLUS shares viable to resolve toll hike woes

(The Sun) The MCA has found the DAP's proposal for the government to acquire the remaining shares in PLUS Berhad to solve the once-in-three-year toll hikes viable.

"We have completed our own detailed study on all 22 toll concession contracts which were declassified on Jan 1. We, therefore, voice our approval for the government to take over PLUS," the MCA Youth Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Bureau said in a statement today.

he DAP had urged the government to buy out the remaining 26% of PLUS shares in public circulation which would also resolve the high compensation that the government needed to pay for deferring toll hikes.

The government currently owns 74% of PLUS.

"Assuming a share price of RM3.50 to RM4.00 per share is offered for the remainder of the shares, the total acquisition price is between RM4.55 billion and RM5.2 billion," said the statement jointly issued by MCA central committee members Lee Wei Kiat and Wong Nai Chee.

They said MCA had put forward four issues to the Cabinet for deliberation:
> the propriety of direct negotiations which MCA feels are no longer infrastructure projects requiring special skills;
> the rationale of granting loans to private concession companies without security by the federal government;
> the compensation payable by the government; and
> the verification of traffic volume.

They also pointed out that if the situation was left as it was, the toll rate was expected to double by 2038.

"The toll rate is currently set at 14.96 sen per km and by 2038, the toll rate is expected to double to 29.16 sen per km. As such, a trip from KL to Penang costing RM86 one-way would cost RM168 by 2038," they added.